How to Effectively Apply System Sprites to Your Gamestar Mechanic Game

System sprites are essential to building complex games on Gamestar Mechanic, and only a few types of sprites can control the style and feel of a game. To create a game that functions exactly how you want, you need to understand the game mechanics created by way of system sprites.

Energy Meter

Effect: Sets a countdown gauge that causes a level failure when it reaches 0; it is refilled whenever the avatar collects energy items.

When to Use It: The energy meter resembles a timer, making the game more urgent and engaging, but it’s more versatile, with settings for initial energy, maximum energy, and energy consumed per second. In addition, energy-granting items, which cannot restore energy past the maximum value, can be stored in the backpack, which makes for a more multifaceted timer.

Frag Counter

Effect: Requires the player to frag a certain number of enemies before the level can be beaten. By default, all enemies must be fragged, but the Specify Enemy Count setting lets the counter require between 0 and 9,999 enemies. The specified enemies must be fewer than the number of enemies in the level, unless the level contains enemy-generating sprites.

When to Use It: The frag counter turns obstacles into goals, requiring players to do battle with the challenges ahead. If the counter is set to require All Enemies, the entire level must be cleared out.

If the frag counter requires only a certain number of enemies, design your game accordingly, or combine the element with enemy-generating sprites for a powerful survival-shooter effect. Alternatively, you can require zero frags and use the counter as a simple gauge.

Health Meter

Effect: Displays the avatar’s health and armor values. The health value turns red when it runs low (for avatars with 1 to 4 health points, 1 health is low; for avatars with 5 to 8 health points, 2 health is low).

When to Use It: The health meter is a commonly used but unusual system sprite. It doesn’t change how the other sprites function — it simply informs the player of the avatar’s status. However, it’s extremely useful because it gauges the players’ health and armor points, allowing them to know how close an avatar is to fragging.

This sprite is unnecessary when no sprites in the level can damage the avatar, and it sometimes isn’t required when the avatar never goes above 1 hit point. If you’re unsure about whether to use this sprite, use it.

Population Counter

Effect: The system sprite, which takes the appearance of an enemy, displays how many of that enemy are in the level. The game cannot be won until that number of system sprites enter a certain range.

When to Use It: The population counter prompts the player to manage the population of a specific enemy. By setting the minimum and maximum number of enemies required to win a level, you can build many different challenges. The easiest way to use this counter is to set both the minimum and maximum counts to 0, requiring the player to defeat all of a certain enemy to win.

Alternatively, you can use the population counter to tell the player to kill some enemies, or use generators to create enough enemies to fill the quota. Lastly, you can set the minimum and maximum counts equal to the number of that enemy, telling players not to frag any of them. Unlike with other system sprites, you can place multiple population counters in the same level.

Score Keeper

Effect: Requires the player to collect a certain number of points before the level can be beaten. By default, all points must be collected, but the Specify Points setting allows the keeper to require between 0 and 999,999 points. The specified number of points must be less than or equal to the sum total of points in the level.

When to Use It: You can use the score keeper several different ways. It must always be used in conjunction with some number of point-giving sprites, spaced throughout the level.

  • If it’s set to require All Points, position your point sprites in all the places you want the avatar to explore, requiring the player to see the entirety of the level.

  • If the score keeper requires only a fraction of the total points, try to space out point sprites homogenously throughout the level, either giving each area the same wealth or scaling rewards to difficulty level. This strategy gives the game an open-ended feel that puts power in the player’s hands.

    In addition, you can have a game require 0 points (using the score keeper to have players gauge their own scores) or 1 point (place a point at the end of the level as a goal block substitute).

Timer

Effect: Sets a countdown clock; the player loses if the clock reaches 0. The clock can be set from 1 to 599 seconds, depending on settings. The timer can also be turned into a survival timer.

When to Use It: The timer adds a rushed feeling to a level. At the sight of this meter, players are urged to complete the level quickly. Use this sprite whenever this type of constraint is necessary to the challenge level of your game.

Timer (Survival)

Effect: Sets a clock to 0:00, which counts up to a set time; the level cannot be won until the clock reaches that time. The clock, which is a variant of the timer, can be set from 1 to 599 seconds, depending on settings.

When to Use It: The survival timer has the opposite effect of the classic timer: Players must stay in the level for a certain amount of time before winning. To use this sprite effectively, therefore, players must be in constant danger throughout the level, requiring them to hold out until the timer says that they can win.